Does your partner act first and think about you later?
Do you have long-standing issues, recurring arguments, and unspoken resentments with your partner that make you feel disappointed or unloved?
Maybe your life together has become a treadmill of tasks and chores, and you feel stuck.
You wonder why you’ve grown apart or changed as a couple. You may even wonder if you’ve neglected each other for so long that it’s going to be virtually impossible to get the love back.
Or maybe you feel like you need more from your partner. And you’ve asked for it, to no avail, which is even more frustrating.
Your relationship hasn’t been joyful or anywhere close to what you thought it would be. And you don’t know what else to do about it.
It’s not as if you’ve been sitting idly by, watching this all unfold. You’ve been trying to make things better.
You’ve tried to make things better. Maybe you BOTH have.
But nothing has worked for long.
Talking about it hasn’t worked. Counseling hasn’t worked.
“Date nights” haven’t worked.
Reassigning chores hasn’t helped—you still feel resentful of how much more you do.
More frequent sex or new positions hasn’t fixed your issues.
Making budgets or reviewing your bills together hasn’t helped.
Changing jobs or moving hasn’t helped.
Going away for the weekend hasn’t helped, either.
Your problems still persist.
It’s because as soon as you solve one problem, a new one crops up the next day.
So now you are not only frustrated about the original problem, there’s additional resentment and distance between you, because the effort you put into “fixing” things was futile.
But there’s a very good reason why none of the things you’ve done up until now to solve your various problems and reconnect hasn’t worked or has even made things worse. And it’s this:
What you thought were your problems aren’t the real problem.
The problems you thought you were trying to solve are merely symptoms of a much more fundamental break-down.
This break-down has to do with how your relationship functions and operates as a whole.
No matter how unique you think your situation is, I can practically guarantee that any or all of your issue can be traced back to just 5 root causes or “forces”:
1. Your relationship is fundamentally insecure.
2. Your relationship is fundamentally unfair.
3. Your relationship is fundamentally self-centered.
4. Your relationship is fundamentally inflexible.
5. Your relationship fundamentally lacks aliveness.
When even just ONE of these forces is present, the relationship simply can’t work for the long haul.
Your various and unique “problems” will keep repeating, morphing, changing…but will persist.
And every single relationship issue will fit into one of these 5 categories.
You think your problem is that your partner doesn’t put their dishes in the dishwasher, carelessly throws their dirty clothes on the floor—nope, it’s actually that your relationship is fundamentally unfair. And you don’t know how to make it more fundamentally fair.
Therefore, it’ll be about the dishes one day, and about who should stay home with the kids when they’re sick the next day.
Or, you think your partner spends too much money on things like clothes and shoes, and the solution is to have them agree to stick to a budget. Not quite—it’s that your relationship is fundamentally insecure. And you have no idea how to fix that.
So you keep making up “rules” to control your partner’s behavior, but they are always breaking the rules and driving you crazy.
You think “date night” will solve the problem of you not connecting lately, but when you’re sitting across from one another at dinner, you’re STILL spending more time scrolling through your phone than conversing with each other. Why? Because your relationship lacks aliveness. And superficial solutions won’t work.
You have to fix the problem of your lack of vitality from the inside out, not by going out on an expensive date.
Whatever your problem is, and the solution you THINK will fix it, you’ll only go in circles unless you effectively address the bigger, overarching force that’s destroying your relationship.
But the really scary thing about these 5 hidden forces behind all your relationship problems?
They can creep into your relationship completely undetected, and completely kill the love you have for each other.
So while you’re nit-picking your partner’s annoying habits, complaining to your friends or to yourself about how clueless or disengaged your partner is, the 5 forces are slowly building, and getting stronger, and more damaging.
Because the real issue isn’t being addressed.
And then the criticism starts, and the complaining—it gets worse and worse.
You and your partner start to stonewall each other. Your resentment builds. Your bickering gets uglier and uglier.
You say things you can’t ever take back.
You start to feel contempt for your each other, and nothing you do feels like enough anymore.
And before you know it, separation or divorce seems like the only viable option.
Unless you understand the 5 forces underlying ALL your individual “problems,” you will be caught by surprise when your relationship ultimately unravels and falls apart.
You’ll continue to bicker and fight—about the wrong things—and try and fail with the wrong solutions.
And it’s why knowledge of the 5 forces and how they are impacting your relationship right now is absolutely critical.
The trick is learning HOW to identify what the system failure is, and getting the right tools to change it.
Once you learn how to do it, your relationship will completely transform because you’ll know exactly what you need to do to have a relationship that’s more fun, fair, supportive, and cooperative.
You’ll know how to effectively address the issue of fairness in your relationship, so that you’ll stop feeling resentful or that you’re getting the short end of the stick.
You’ll know how to be more relational with one another, so you don’t feel like your feelings and needs don’t matter. You’ll know how to inject more aliveness into your love, so that every night you’re together is your favorite part of the week.
You’ll discover what it really takes to make your relationship feel secure and stable, so you’re not worried that your partner will abandon you after your next fight. And you’ll learn what it takes to make your relationship more flexible, so that the next crisis doesn’t become the last crisis before you separate.
When you effectively address the overarching system, the symptoms disappear. Your problems stop recurring. Your satisfaction with your relationship skyrockets.
How do I know? I’ve been helping couples deal with their troubled relationships for more than 40 years as a clinical family and relationship counselor.
I know how important it is to identify which of the 5 forces is behind their complaints and issues, so they can do what it REALLY takes to solve it.
It’s what gives couples HOPE that things can and will get better, even if everything they’ve tried to “fix” it before hasn’t worked.
When couples learn what is really behind such conflicts as not getting enough help with household chores, feeling bored or dissatisfied in the relationship, or intense, dramatic fighting, they experience a huge “AHA.”
They finally see WHY what they’ve been doing to solve their problem hasn’t worked.
When they learn what they REALLY need to do instead, they finally have hope that they can create an equitable, fun and supportive relationship that lasts.
But if you can’t see what’s really wrong, it’s nearly impossible to know what to do to fix it.
It’s a matter of perspective, and knowledge.
But I can’t possibly work individually with everyone who needs that kind of help. That’s why I’ve partnered with Flourish, so I can extend that help and guidance to as many people as possible, since almost all couples can benefit from these insights and tips.
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A relationship can’t ever work if one person is only thinking about what they want, and never about the other partner’s feelings, needs or opinions.
The advice contained in the articles I’ve written for Flourish will help you uncover the hidden issues that are creating this dysfunctional dynamic in your relationship, and will show you the fastest, most effective way to resolve it at last.
May you have an extraordinary day,